Since the presidential election tribunal began sitting in May, there have been heated debates among supporters of the three leading candidates in the February 2023 election. While some are optimistic that the tribunal will upturn the election that produced Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s 16th president, others see their optimism as mere wishful thinking that will never come to fruition.
For the first time since the country returned to democratic rule in 1999, the presidential election held on February 25, 2023, was a three-horse race among the candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Amid controversies, allegations of bullying, voter manipulations, and suppression, and INEC’s failure to upload results of the presidential election to the IREV portal from the polling unit as promised, Tinubu was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 1, 2023, with a total vote of 8.7 million.
The European Union Election Observers, in their report on the conduct of the 2023 election, which has been rejected by the presidency, claimed that “public confidence and trust in INEC were severely damaged due to lack of transparency during the conduct of the federal level polls and INEC’s delayed and insufficient explanations for those failures.”
While the conduct of the election was completed four months ago and the winner has since been sworn in, the battle to control the seat of Africa’s largest economy is far from over as Peter Obi who came third in the election with 6.1 million votes, and Atiku who came second with 6.9 million votes are in court challenging Tinubu’s emergence, sparking a new wave of heated political debates among their supporters.
Among other charges, including lying under oath and an allegation of drug trafficking, Kashim Shettima’s alleged double nomination, Peter Obi is asking the court to compel INEC to conduct a fresh election where Tinubu will not be qualified to contest.
Obi’s supporters who are expecting the court to declare a rerun are also demanding Tinubu’s disqualification in the case of a rerun. They have been tweeting with the hashtag #DisqualifyTinubuNow on Twitter.
The National Chairman of the Labour Party Solomon Abure on Monday, July 10, 2023, also claimed that the ruling party is preparing for a rerun and told LP’s supporters to be ready in case the court nullifies the election.
What does the law say in the case of a rerun and which of the candidates is eligible to participate?
While Obi’s supporters are looking forward to a rerun, it appears many are not aware of the provision of the law which says that the candidate with the second-highest number of valid votes in an election will be declared the winner in a case where the court declares that the person returned as the winner by INEC was not qualified to contest the election.
Kolawole Babatunde, a legal practitioner, told Neusroom that “after elections have been conducted and results announced, only the court can determine the legality or otherwise of the said election.”
“Section 136 of the Electoral Act deals extensively with the orders court (tribunal) can make in relation to election results,” he said.
Section 136 (2) of the Electoral Act states that “Where an election tribunal or court nullifies an election on the ground that the person who obtained the highest votes at the election was not qualified to contest the election, the election tribunal or court shall declare the person with the second-highest number of valid votes cast at the election who satisfies the requirements of the Constitution and this Act as duly elected.”
From the provision above, Atiku, who scored 6.9 million votes, and not Obi, might be considered the legitimate winner of the election if Tinubu is indicted on drug charges and hence disqualified, and Atiku satisfies all other electoral provisions.
But Peter Obi’s petition against INEC and Tinubu is also partly hinged on the widely debated section 134 of the Nigerian constitution which provides that for a “presidential candidate to be declared the winner, they must have the highest number of votes cast at the election and not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
In Abuja, out of a total of 478,923 accredited voters, Obi secured about 59 percent of the total votes cast, leaving Tinubu with 19 percent and Atiku with 15 percent.
The controversy regarding Abuja votes has continued to divide opinions, among citizens and legal practitioners.
While it is left for the court to resolve the issue, a rerun, based on selection 136 (1), is expected to be conducted, if the apex court resolves that securing 25% in Abuja is mandatory.
With widespread cases of voter manipulation, Peter Obi and Atiku are also seeking to nullify INEC’s declaration of Tinubu on the grounds that he was not validly elected on any ground.
In this scenario, the Electoral ACT 2022, states
“if the Tribunal or the Court as the case may be, determines that a candidate who was returned as elected was not validly elected on any ground, the Tribunal or Court shall nullify the election and order the Commission to conduct a fresh election not later than 90 days after the ruling.”
However, if the court rules that Tinubu was not validly elected on the ground that he did not score the majority of valid votes cast at the election, the election tribunal or the Court, as the case may be, shall declare Atiku the winner of the election, if he satisfies all other requirements of the Constitution and the Electoral Act
Osun Pensioners: Governor Adeleke is Committed to Payment of Pensions, Entitlements
The government of Governor Ademola Adeleke has reacted to the rumor of accrued pensions not paid by his government as alleged by opposition in the state, upon which some unscrupulous elements are allegedly planning a protest march.
We want the public to note that the current government has been consistent in paying some of the accrued pensions, owed by previous governments, from inception of his administration
While we have ascertained and confirmed that the rumour of a planned protest is not true,we alert the public to the spreading of the fake news designed to offend and confuse the contributory pensioners who are strong supporters of Governor Adeleke.
We assert that the pensioners and other stakeholders are aware of sustained efforts of the current government to pay up the inherited pensions.
It may also interest stakeholders to note that the Governor has 48 hours ago directed the hosting of an emergency consultative meeting with contributory pensioners to table full data before them and agree on a path to further payments.
Details of the meeting are to be communicated to relevant stakeholders.
Ahead of the meeting, we take liberty to release part of the records with renewed commitment of the administration to accelerate the payment process.
The records according to the Local Government Staff Pension Bureau in the state, shows that the government of Ademola Adeleke has made payment to both the contributory pensioners and old pensioners in the state, with effect from 28th November, 2022 till date.
The breakdown is as follows:
MONTHLY PENSION (Old Pension Scheme) – Three billion naira (N3 billion).
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS – Two billion, nine hundred and sixteen million, two hundred and twenty-four thousand, three hundred and forty-one naira and thirty kobo (N2,916,224,341: 30).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – One billion, Sixty-two million, Four Hundred and Sixty-nine thousand, Seven hundred and Forty-three naira, Eighty-six Kobo (N1,062,469,743 : 86).
Regarding Death Benefits:
PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS – Three hundred and Twenty-four million, Two hundred and Eighty-nine thousand, Five hundred and Ninety naira, Sixty-two Kobo (N324,289,590: 62).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – Nine-six million, One hundred and Eighty-one thousand, Thirty-two naira, Ninety-two Kobo (N96,181,032: 92).
MONTHLY PENSION (Contributory Pension) Remittances:
PRIMARY SCHOOL – One billion, Eighty-three million,One hundred and Ninety-seven thousand,two hundred and Sixty-five naira, Thirty-six Kobo (N1,083,197,265:36).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF PENSIONERS – Six hundred and One million, Seven hundred and Seventy-four thousand, Thirty-two naira, Thirty-two kobo (N601,774,032:32).
PRESENTATION OF BOND CERTIFICATES:
PRIMARY SCHOOL – One billion, Nine hundred and Eleven million, Three hundred and Seventy thousand, Two hundred and Eleven naira, Forty-four Kobo (N1,911,370,211:44).
LOCAL GOVT STAFF PENSIONERS – Seven hundred and Eight million, Forty-one thousand, Three hundred and Seventy-eight naira, Ninety-seven Kobo (N708,041,378:97).
The government appreciates the Pensioners and especially the contributory pensioners for their understanding, resilience and appreciation of the high level of commitment already shown by the government and urge them to distance themselves from evil operatives of the previous regime who were responsible for the pension debt in the first place.
As we remind the public and pensioners that Governor Adeleke has workers welfare as a number on his agenda, we affirm that the Governor has the best interest of workers, pensioners and the public at heart and his government will therefore not under any circumstances deny retirees their due rights and privileges.
The government reiterates its commitment to the good people of Osun state, and asked that the lying opposition party be shunned, as they are mischief makers.
Oluomo Kolapo Alimi
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment
Mohbad: I Disguised To Candlelight, Shameful Things People Did – FPRO
The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has said that he was one of those who attended the candlelight and night of tribe held for Ilerioluwa Aloba, aka Mohbad, in Lagos.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, however, said the conduct of some of those there did not serve the purpose.
In a tweet on his X handle, Adejobi said inasmuch as candlelight processions are a right, it should be done with decorum.
He tweeted: “None could recognise me, I disguised.
“But I intentionally attended to see things for myself and have an opinion about the whole thing.
“I gathered some intelligence there yesterday.
“Sincerely, many guys are our problem.
“You dey mourn, u con dey smoke, dey hit or attack people, dey drive reckless, etc.
“May his soul rest in peace.
“While I commend the organisers of the lagos procession for their steadfastness and understanding.
“I hope others will emulate them.
“It’s reasonable to end all processions at the latest 7pm.
“Candle light procession is a rite and must be purposeful.”
Ramsdale’s Time At Arsenal Coming To An End —Premier League Legend
Premier League legendary American goalkeeper Brad Friedel has said he is certain that Aaron Ramsdale’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end.
Ramsdale has been overlooked for selection in past two games, with summer signing David Raya getting the nod.
The Spanish goalkeeper joined Arsenal from Brentford on a £3million loan deal with a purchase option of £27m.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has insisted to the media that he will pick his goalkeeper based on tactical reasons.
But the fact that Raya has started in both the Premier League and now Champions League has many questioning his statements.
One of those is Friedel, who has the third-most appearances of any goalkeeper in Premier League history.
When asked if it’s over for Ramsdale if Raya starts this weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham, the American replied on talkSPORT: “Absolutely.”
“I thought from the second they signed him they signed him to be the new no.1, I don’t think you pay that much money for someone with one year left on their contract, I know he signed an extra contract and went on loan, but that was for other reasons.
“I think they really liked Raya so when he became available they pushed for him.”
“It’s very harsh on Ramsdale but it’s the coach’s decision,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham keeper said.
“I’m assuming Ramsdale at the end of this season will end up having to do what Matt Turner did at the end of the previous season and find another place to play.
“I know it’s early and people will say you have to see what he does, but I think Raya was brought in as the no.1, you thought maybe they could be swapping if they’d played Ramsdale in the Champions League, but that didn’t happen.
“I think we’ll see Raya in goal and he’ll be the incumbent no.1 this season.”
Ramsdale joined Arsenal in the summer of 2021, leaving Sheffield United in a £30m deal.
Last season the 25-year-old almost helped the Gunners to a first league title in almost two decades, which Friedel thinks will see him join another top club where he can play every match
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